European Commission opens an antitrust investigation against Google

The European Commission has opened an antitrust investigation against Google for claims of unfair practice on search engine results.  Price comparison sites like Foundem and Ciao have both submitted claims against Google for penalizing them on their search engine results, according to the Telegraph.

The claims came to be when Foundem said that Google lifted the search penalty in December 2009, and their site traffic increased by 10,000 percent overnight.  Both Foundem and Ciao are price comparision websites, where both are experiencing the same penalizing problem by Google. 

“Google has always used various penalty filters to remove certain sites entirely from its search results or place them so far down the rankings that they will never be found,” said Foundem last August.

Foundem and Ciao believe Google penalized them, like they do for websites that spam or try to beat Google’s algorithm.  This results in having their link pushed further down or on the next page of search results.

Google claims that since Ciao was purchased by Microsoft in 2008, they have complained numerous times about foul play, after having a great Adsense relationship with them.  Google believes that the complaints are being filtered through Ciao from Microsoft.

Thanks to Shayla for the news tip!

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This is more EU BS.
Google does not Control the Internet, They do not Block sites from the internet. They offer a Service to allow you to find sites, but nowhere do they say every site has to be indexed, or fair results. They should be fully within their rights to limit results, or even block any site they choose from their results.


The more the EU does this bs stuff, the less companies are going to want to do business in the EU.. Tell me, what will the EU do if Google pulls out and no longer has any sub-sites registered/owned there ? They will be outside their area of control and then the EU will have the choice of blocking Google from the internet, or Shutting the **** up and getting control of themselves.

God knows if I was in control of MS after that Ballot ruling I would have just said no. Windows comes with IE, just like it does Notepad, Calculator, Minesweeper, etc. Take it or leave it. This isn't 9x, it can be removed if you want too and any other browser can be installed, so stfu and **** off. Lets see how Happy Europe would be without Windows, while the rest of the world uses it.. Sure the Linux people would be thrilled, but it would still mean no games, no business software, etc, for the decade or so..

I agree with some of the comments made but crashguys above is hypocritical to itself. Yes it's Google's search engine but the algoryhtms are designed to pick up sites specificly related to the user's request. At the end of the day if I search for product XYZ, on Google I would expect all related websites to it. What I wouldn't accept or expect is for Google to say we offer product XYZ also so the other companies are further down the search results. At the end of the day this is unfair and under EU law illegal simple as. I don't necessarily agree with a lot of the crap EU do, especially the constant Microsoft attacks, but at the end of the day the buearucrats rule and we have to put up with it

Ahh Antitrust.. just another word for 'successful'

This is an attack by what must obviously be companies using spam of black hat SEO to get to the top then getting penalised...

Here's the cold truth. Google creates their algorithyms to give users the correct results. If they don't, people stop using it. Fact.

They are going to stop you from attempting to abuse this system. If your company is dodgy, stop trying to hack your way to the top. This is not allowed.

Google can control whats in their search engine. It's their search engine. It's not a publically owned search engine. It's googles. You cannot say because google is the largest they do not have the right to control their own products. That is simply attacking the largest fish.

It's like people say because Apple doesn't have a large marketshare that they're not a monopoly. Realistically they do have a monopoly on iTunes and iPhone/iPod. This is true. However, why cant they... the products belong to apple. Free competition is good. Bring on competition!!! But do not expect Apple to help you beat themselves..

This is the same **** people expect Microsoft to do.. fight against themselves, help them make other products popular. why should they have to?? why do they need to help other companies?

Google is simpler running their own product how they see fit. They're not abusing other companies, i don't see a bunch of 'hi im google, and i'm yahoo' ads running.

This comment has a simple finish. Stop suing everything!!! your failure to succeed, your ability to get caught is not another companies fault. Stop blaming everybody else, take responsibily for once!!

Ciao on Google UK and Bing UK are on the front pages. Can't seem to find Foundem on at least the first 3-4 pages on either search engine though.

Searched with term "price comparison".

Jesus. That's just a bunch of little whining companies that can't afford to get their marketing right and instead have to rely on google's free search engine listing service. Now they aren't satisfied with the service they get and had go complain to their daddy. Boring.

bestbuy said,
Jesus. That's just a bunch of little whining companies that can't afford to get their marketing right and instead have to rely on google's free search engine listing service. Now they aren't satisfied with the service they get and had go complain to their daddy. Boring.

If you look at any studies on the matter, you'll find that the vast majority of people go to a search engine when looking for a site. Marketing is not that big a factor really. If you are being removed from the search results of a major search engine because they have a competing product, then no one can find you. It doesn't matter how good you are, etc. Now, this is just an investigation, so who knows that this actually happened at this point, but if it did, it IS wrong...

M_Lyons10 said,

If you look at any studies on the matter, you'll find that the vast majority of people go to a search engine when looking for a site. Marketing is not that big a factor really. If you are being removed from the search results of a major search engine because they have a competing product, then no one can find you. It doesn't matter how good you are, etc. Now, this is just an investigation, so who knows that this actually happened at this point, but if it did, it IS wrong...

Exactly. A lot of people seem to be missing the point here.

Well if they did it with Microsoft, they should do it with Google. Google fans can go whine somewhere else if they think Google is untouchable.

Glendi said,
Well if they did it with Microsoft, they should do it with Google. Google fans can go whine somewhere else if they think Google is untouchable.

I dont think that any of these companies are untouchable. I just totally disagree with what competition has come to these days. Screw progression, lets just beat down the innovative companies like MS and Google until they are just as crappy as us instead of lets work together to become just as good as them.

Its all the same bs with a different color, next week someone is going to sue oracle because they designed an innovative databse platform that everyone uses and now PunySQL cnat compete because Oracle has a corner on the market. Its just retarded, no one wants to work anymore they just want to stand on the sholders of others.

I believe a team of scientists did that once with some dinosaur eggs... we all know how that worked out.

Being inferior has absolutely nothing to do with this. These companies have complained because they believe that Google are artificially lowering their pagerank and favouring their own services. If its true, its monopoly abuste, its highly unethical, and its also massively illegal under EU law.

Google provides a service, and I can find no where where it says it's 100% Fair and Equal for all. It's Their service, if they don't want to have some sites in their results it's their choice. When google starts being able to remove sites from the Internet, then they will have a case.

Ryoken said,
Google provides a service, and I can find no where where it says it's 100% Fair and Equal for all. It's Their service, if they don't want to have some sites in their results it's their choice. When google starts being able to remove sites from the Internet, then they will have a case.

agreed 100%

But some people or say hacker use google for Illegal thing ...

Ryoken said,
Google provides a service, and I can find no where where it says it's 100% Fair and Equal for all. It's Their service, if they don't want to have some sites in their results it's their choice. When google starts being able to remove sites from the Internet, then they will have a case.

But if what they're saying Google is doing is true, it's malicious and monopolistic... It doesn't matter what Google "says" about their search results, they cannot remove a competing site from their search results, as it is an abuse of their market dominance...

I fail to see how this is a problem. Google's search engine belongs to them. It is not a public service. They don't HAVE to even list results if they don't want to. The order that they choose for the results is entirely up to them.

roadwarrior said,
I fail to see how this is a problem. Google's search engine belongs to them. It is not a public service. They don't HAVE to even list results if they don't want to. The order that they choose for the results is entirely up to them.
The issue, as ever, is about abuse of dominance in a marketplace. Whether Google really fits that bill is a fair question, but the mere opening of a investigation doesn't mean they've been convicted of anything.

Microsoft owns their own operating system, but because of sheer dominance in the marketplace, they are being forced to make changes to comply with the EU commission.

roadwarrior said,
I fail to see how this is a problem. Google's search engine belongs to them. It is not a public service. They don't HAVE to even list results if they don't want to. The order that they choose for the results is entirely up to them.

That's a very silly view on things... Google can't use their market dominance to take competing sites out of their search results, or to push them down rankings, it's monopolistic... Not to say that's definitely what happened, it hasn't been proven yet, but if so, it IS wrong...

roadwarrior said,
I fail to see how this is a problem. Google's search engine belongs to them. It is not a public service. They don't HAVE to even list results if they don't want to. The order that they choose for the results is entirely up to them.

Actually technically, they do. Not doing so would be monopoly abuse since they're abusing their dominant position in the search market to stamp on companies competing with their own services.

It is about time!

I will tell you why..., because too many jobless people cannot find a job anywhere in the world. I sense that it would blame on google, because old testament called JOB in the bible. Google's motto: "Don't be evil" that I don't believe that one, because Google is really dangerous monopoly. My friend tried to offered me get gmail account, but I rejected it, because privacry.

Gameboy

gameboy1977 said,
It is about time!

I will tell you why..., because too many jobless people cannot find a job anywhere in the world. I sense that it would blame on google, because old testament called JOB in the bible. Google's motto: "Don't be evil" that I don't believe that one, because Google is really dangerous monopoly. My friend tried to offered me get gmail account, but I rejected it, because privacry.

Gameboy

Ok...really? No seriously...really? I'm still trying to figure out how on earth you equate Google to the jobless to the Bible. O.o

1. Who is foundem? Never heard of them...couldn't care less.
2. Ciao are plastered all over google results and it ****es me off. Even for things that have nothing to do with what I searched.

So screw these two companies, they are nothing... move along

Nicholas P. said,
MS has nothing to do with this. Some of you are completely out of topic.

As I told Magpie above, learn to read:
Google claims that since Ciao was purchased by Microsoft in 2008, they have complained numerous times about foul play, after having a great Adsense relationship with them. Google believes that the complaints are being filtered through Ciao from Microsoft.

C_Guy said,
And again let's not challenge Google's claim, let's just take it as truth without thinking about it.

And again, +1. lol

roadwarrior said,
Fixes that for you.
Jeez, you really have a persecution complex. These are multinational companies. They all have thousands of employees in Europe.

agreenbhm said,
Another frivolous attack against a corporation, courtesy of the EU.

I don't know about that. If they're removing these sites from search results and pushing them down rankings then they did something wrong...

M_Lyons10 said,

I don't know about that. If they're removing these sites from search results and pushing them down rankings then they did something wrong...

Quoted for Emphasis.

Magpie said,
nothing to do with microsoft....move along..

learn to read:

Google claims that since Ciao was purchased by Microsoft in 2008, they have complained numerous times about foul play, after having a great Adsense relationship with them. Google believes that the complaints are being filtered through Ciao from Microsoft.

Yep, and we should all just believe whatever Google claims without thinking about it.

Scapegoating Microsoft for your problems is so far past old it's not even funny anymore.

C_Guy said,
Yep, and we should all just believe whatever Google claims without thinking about it.

Scapegoating Microsoft for your problems is so far past old it's not even funny anymore.

+1

MS up to their old tricks again. Just like making complaints about google books even though lots of orphan books are being freed. Can you imagine a microsoft world where you pay for every single service? I know which I prefer.

LoveThePenguin said,
MS up to their old tricks again. Just like making complaints about google books even though lots of orphan books are being freed. Can you imagine a microsoft world where you pay for every single service? I know which I prefer.

O HAI THERE LINUX LOVER + MS HATER!!!!

LoveThePenguin said,
MS up to their old tricks again. Just like making complaints about google books even though lots of orphan books are being freed. Can you imagine a microsoft world where you pay for every single service? I know which I prefer.

Actually a lot of publishers have complaints about google books. And this article has got nothing to do with microsoft charging for anything. So please, take your trolling elsewhere.

LoveThePenguin said,
MS up to their old tricks again. Just like making complaints about google books even though lots of orphan books are being freed. Can you imagine a microsoft world where you pay for every single service? I know which I prefer.

Well if you're going to use the word 'service', then yes, I can imagine a world where we pay for all of them. It's the one we live in. That's what a service is--something you pay for, one way or another.

LoveThePenguin said,
MS up to their old tricks again. Just like making complaints about google books even though lots of orphan books are being freed. Can you imagine a microsoft world where you pay for every single service? I know which I prefer.

Clearly you don't understand why so many in the industry are against Google's book service... It goes well beyond Microsoft...

I'm guessing it's that "monopoly" thing again. Since Google has effectively has one in the land of search engines, it has to be fair.

DonC said,
I'm guessing it's that "monopoly" thing again. Since Google has effectively has one in the land of search engines, it has to be fair.

It's not illegal to be a monopoly, but it is to abuse that position a la microsofts' shipping of ie with the OS to get a strangle hold on the market, or coercing OEM's so they don't sell competing products. MS has a long history of monopoly abuse, but as far as I can see, google has provided many valuable services to netizens for free.

LoveThePenguin said,

It's not illegal to be a monopoly, but it is to abuse that position a la microsofts' shipping of ie with the OS to get a strangle hold on the market, or coercing OEM's so they don't sell competing products. MS has a long history of monopoly abuse, but as far as I can see, google has provided many valuable services to netizens for free.

Yes microsoft is all evil, and google is all good..

Oh wait. Microsoft isn't a monopoly. The media throws around that term far too freely, here's what it means:

(economics) a market in which there are many buyers but only one seller

pielor said,
eh? i think i've missed the problem, how is it google's fault?

2 out of 3 companies behind complains are Microsoft related and funded. Guess.

/- Razorfold said,
(economics) a market in which there are many buyers but only one seller

Where did you get that definition? It's very simplistic and inaccurate (at least from a legal standpoint).

Edited by roadwarrior, Feb 24 2010, 2:45pm : x

LoveThePenguin said,

It's not illegal to be a monopoly, but it is to abuse that position a la microsofts' shipping of ie with the OS

Yup, and that's why Apple shipping Safari with OS X was total abuse that made Safari a monopoly.

Oh wait....

roadwarrior said,

Where did you get that definition? It's very simplistic and inaccurate (at least from a legal standpoint).

+1 - exactly, you havent even mentioned percentages

Edited by GetUsed2It, Feb 24 2010, 4:12pm : typo

GetUsed2It said,

+1 - exactly, you havent even mentioned percentages

Percentages only matter in the EU:

The existence of a very high market share does not always mean consumers are paying excessive prices since the threat of new entrants to the market can restrain a high-market-share firm's price increases. Competition law does not make merely having a monopoly illegal, but rather abusing the power a monopoly may confer, for instance through exclusionary practices.

First it is necessary to determine whether a firm is dominant, or whether it behaves "to an appreciable extent independently of its competitors, customers and ultimately of its consumer."[31] As with collusive conduct, market shares are determined with reference to the particular market in which the firm and product in question is sold.

Under EU law, very large market shares raises a presumption that a firm is dominant,[32] which may be rebuttable.[33] If a firm has a dominant position, then there is "a special responsibility not to allow its conduct to impair competition on the common market".[34] The lowest yet market share of a firm considered "dominant" in the EU was 39.7%.[35]

Microsoft hasn't being a monopoly ever since the time it had to pay Apple a couple of hundred million dollars and make office available on the mac.

Edited by -Razorfold, Feb 24 2010, 6:31pm :

/- Razorfold said,

Percentages only matter in the EU:

Microsoft hasn't being a monopoly ever since the time it had to pay Apple a couple of hundred million dollars and make office available on the mac.


That would be about a monopoly specifically in the office software market, yes. A software company doesn't stop having a dominating position in other markets just if they share Office. ;)

Anyway. I think the EU officials rarely use the word "monopoly" when discussing these things. Instead of Wikipedia, see this: http://europa.eu/pol/comp/index_en.htm

It is illegal under EU rules for businesses to fix prices or carve up markets between them. Companies with a dominant position in a particular market may not abuse that power to squeeze out competitors. Big companies may not merge if that would put them in a position to control the market, though in practice this rule only prevents a small numbers of mergers going ahead

It is not strictly about monopolies to the letter of that definition, but about "dominant positions" and "positions to control the market". No percentages, no monopolies, but more subjective stuff determined on a case-by-case basis.

They do however bring up strict monopolies, and how even these can be OK, but this depends a lot on how they work with the market.

Edited by Northgrove, Feb 25 2010, 12:48am :

Northgrove said,

That would be about a monopoly specifically in the office software market, yes. A software company doesn't stop having a dominating position in other markets just if they share Office. ;)

Anyway. I think the EU officials rarely use the word "monopoly" when discussing these things. Instead of Wikipedia, see this: http://europa.eu/pol/comp/index_en.htm

It is not strictly about monopolies to the letter of that definition, but about "dominant positions" and "positions to control the market". No percentages, no monopolies, but more subjective stuff determined on a case-by-case basis.

First read my line again, they haven't been a monopoly since that lawsuit. I wasn't taking about sharing office, I was just talking about the outcome of that lawsuit.

Also nice quote, now please explain to me how Microsoft price fixes office or windows, and how they try to get rid of competitors from their market?

The thing about forcing OEMs to only install Windows? Gone for a while, and almost all of them offer linux on their computers now. They can't offer Mac for obvious reasons.

Hell Apple tries to reduce Windows sales by advertising a bunch of lies, I don't see Microsoft doing that about Mac OS X.

And also the EU =/= The world, which is why I quoted the wikipedia article over the European article. But as for European laws, some of them are ridiculous.

Like how Microsoft cannot install IE on computers (Windows XP N edition), or how they couldn't bundle their free anti-virus with windows (Symantec / Mcafee lawsuit), or like the new browser ballot screen.

Edited by -Razorfold, Feb 25 2010, 1:33am :